Thanksgiving Costs Through History

Thanksgiving

Filled with laughter, good food, and heart-warming conversation, Thanksgiving is a holiday centered on all things family. Dating all the way back to 1621, this festive celebration originally began to signify a successful and fruitful fall harvest. Today we enjoy this day of thanks to remember all the blessings and loved ones in our life.

Many things have changed since 1621, or even since 1916! We wanted to see what this holiday may have looked like over the past century, to visualize how traditions and costs have changed through the years.

There are several factors when determining the cost of a Thanksgiving celebration. Today the average feast runs approximately $49. This includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, carrots, celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee with milk. However, back in 1916 this meal cost approximately $6.81, but keep in mind, the turkey then cost $4.48, or $99.23 in today’s standards.

Take a look and see how the various costs of Thanksgiving have changed over the last 100 years. You’ll be surprised at the difference!

Cost of Today’s Feast                      Cost of Past Century’s Feast

1916 – $2.21                                        1916 – $6.81

1926 – $3.59                                        1926 – $11.06

1936 – $2.82                                        1936 – $8.68

1946 – $3.96                                        1946 – $12.18

1956 – $5.52                                        1956 – $16.99

1966 – $6.58                                        1966 – $20.24

1976 – $11.55                                      1976 – $35.55

1986 – $22.24                                      1986 – $68.47

1996 – $31.84                                      1996 – $98.03

2006 – $40.92                                      2006 – $125.95

2016 – $49.00                                      2016 – $150.84

At Bank Alpine, we love learning about holidays and their history. It’s easy to see now how $6.81 can really add up! If you put those dollars in today’s standards, food costs would be astronomical! Can you imagine paying over $100 for just your turkey? This year the average cost per pound is about 93 cents, so for a 16-pound turkey, you should expect to pay around $15. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

5 Ways to Stay Fit without Breaking Your Budget

Budget

Holiday season means delicious feasts, scrumptious treats, and unforgettable drinks. All these added meals can only mean one thing – extra time working out! If your favorite festive foods are breaking your calorie budget, try these tips to help both you and your wallet stay in great shape.

  1. Youtube Videos.

Who said exercise videos has to be expensive? Peruse through the YouTube catalog of new and old workouts to find the perfect match for your schedule. Some great videos to start with are 10 Min Abs Workout, No Gym Full Body Workout, 30 Minute at Home Strength Workout.

  1. Running

While this option may depend on the weather, the feeling of running outdoors with the fresh air in your lungs can never compare to the jolting feeling a treadmill can bring. With the basic investment of a good pair of running shoes, and some comfortable outdoor athletic attire, you can enjoy this sport whenever the urge hits.

  1. Calisthenics

This is a great home exercise that is entirely based around using your own body weight. Through structured movements, and small equipment extras, you can complete your entire weekly workout, in the comfort of your living room.

  1. Purchase Multi-use Equipment.

When purchasing equipment, look so see how many different exercises you can complete with it. Instead of buying the the upscale item that is specifically engineered to optimize one exercise, expand your home-gym with affordable equipment that can serve multiple purposes.  

  1. Downsize Your Gym

If you already belong to a gym, and prefer the atmosphere to your home workout area, consider downsizing your gym spending, or switching to a more cost-effective workout center. If you have family members paying for gym access that never go, consider revising your plan, and incur the cost for their access only when they use it.

 

The holidays are a great time of the year, don’t miss out on any of your favorites this season, and stick to these cost-effective workout tips! If you’re looking to save for your next holiday gathering, stop in today, and we’ll help get your holiday season started out right!

True or False: Catch Me if You Can

Check Fraud

Starting in 1963, Frank Abagnale began his criminal career. Made famous from the film, Catch Me if You Can, this mastermind of forgery made a name for himself at a young age by impersonating pilots, lawyers, and doctors. Throughout these impersonations, Frank found new and inventive ways to defraud the United States and at least eight other countries. When he was  captured at age 21, he had defrauded multiple nations upwards of $1.3 million dollars. After serving five years of his twelve year federal sentencing, he agreed to work with the FBI to help investigate and proactively protect the United States from further check fraud.

As Frank’s history with the FBI began to grow, he started to share the distinctive patterns and signatures behind the best of check fraud criminals. See if you can determine which of these check fraud facts are true and which are just cinematic magic:

True or False? Big corporations such as Panam had a much higher risk of check fraud than small mom and pop shops.

FALSE:  Although Panam was depicted as the start of Frank’s larger check fraud scheme, large scale business models face less risk than most small businesses. Did you know one in four businesses have fell victim to fraud? While larger companies have internal security and protective insurances for such instances, most local businesses rely on their employees and their customers to ensure an honest and accurate transaction.

True or False? Paper check forgery still is prominent today.

TRUE: With small businesses as the largest targets, paper check fraud is still a relevant issue, even today. Often times, the culprit can be employees who write a business check to themselves. Other instances can be a vendor who is able to alter the ink on the check to reflect an amount that they would prefer. While there are many additional cyber fraud crimes possible today, the threat of a paper check fraud is still imminent.

True or False? This movie largely encourages check fraud and teaches criminals how to hone their craft.

FALSE: While this movie does display many techniques in producing fraudulent checks, the premier intention of the film is to educate both banks and businesses in what to look for concerning false checks. There are many simple markers and signs that a check may be a fake, and while the storyline depicts the various lifestyle choices of a criminal, it reveals in the end, that Frank Abagnale began to help the FBI identify these markers to prevent future check fraud.

What to look for in fradulent checks straight from Frank Abagnale:

  • Keep any checks, deposit slips, or check re-orders under lock and key in a secure location. Many times those close to your business are the culprits in a check fraud crime.
  • Use Remote Deposit Capture from Alpine Bank. This service ensures that the check is treated just like a debit. If there are no funds in this account or it represents a false account, you will know as soon as the transaction completes.
  • When receiving a check in a transaction, scan the check to make sure it has a perforated edge, marking where it was torn from the checkbook.
  • Never cash a check you are unsure of. If something does not seem right, it is always safer to ask for further identity verification, or simply deny their request to cash the check.

If you’re curious how to keep your small business secure against check fraud, come by Alpine Bank today and speak with one of our local commercial lenders.

How to Hit a Homerun in Retirement

Retirement

Winning in a baseball game or in your retirement savings is no easy feat! It takes dedication and determination to seal the win. As you begin to reexamine your retirement plan try these key pointers from Alpine Bank to coach you along the way!

Load the Bases

If you have available resources, make sure you’re using them! Just as a batter is primed to score with his bases covered in players, so are you by capitalizing on your 401(k), IRA, personal savings, and structured investing plan. Score extra points by taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) which matches your monthly contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. Those are free dollars to aim towards your retirement!

Pitch a No Hitter

Don’t let the opposing team get ahead; work to pitch a no hitter by setting up your emergency savings fund. Instead of walking any unexpected expenses, such as auto repairs or medical bills, send those players back to the dugout with an added savings curve ball. You’ll be protecting your savings and racking up points, while staking your claim to your space in the hall of fame.

Build a Winning Team

Just as you would compile your fantasy team around leading scorers and left handed pitchers, the same applies to your financial team! At Alpine Bank we have a well-rounded lineup of personal bankers, wealth advisers, and lenders to help you make it to the big leagues.

Play Extra Innings

Even in retirement, there’s no rule against a little over time! Take up a part or full-time job you enjoy to cover living expenses before you have to dip into your savings account. You and your spouse could land a home run in the bottom of the 10th with some additional income at the start of your retirement.

No matter if you’re swinging for the fences or just trying to get on base, our experienced team at Alpine Bank can help craft a game plan for your retirement! Give us a call at (815) 398-6500  or stop by the bank today!

Mortgage Loan Documentation Requirements

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Rob Grindle Mortgage Banker, NMLS #462766

Buying a house can be overwhelming. Whether it’s your very first house, second, or even third, it’s always helpful to talk through the necessary steps to owning a home. Finding the perfect home can take weeks or even months. No matter how long your search is, one thing is for certain: When you find “the one,” you want things to move along quickly to secure your financing.

An important step in maintaining a smooth, hassle free process is making sure that you have the necessary loan documents readily available. Below is a simple checklist to use when you are applying for a mortgage.

  • Previous three years of Federal Tax Returns with all schedules, A, C, E, if any
  • Previous three years of W2s for ALL jobs
  • Five recent pay stubs showing year to date earnings
  • Two recent checking and savings statements (All pages, including blank pages and cancelled check pages
  • One recent 401k, 403B and/or IRA statement
  • Photo ID

By having all of the required documents in place, the more likely the home buying process will be quick and efficient. Remember, the more organized you are prior to finding that dream home, the sooner you’ll be able to call it your own.

Rob Grindle

Mortgage Banker, NMLS #462766

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What Your Teen Needs to Know About Money Management

Money Management

 

Throughout their teenage years, your children will begin to grow their personal money management style. Offer them some assistance by offering these four financial lessons from Alpine Bank.

Securing Their First Job

No matter if it’s babysitting, life guarding, or bagging groceries, there are plenty of employment options for eager high school students. These opportunities typically start at minimum wage with zero benefits, but offer a foundation of experience and learning. Talk with your son or daughter, and help them select positions to apply for that resonate with them. Resources such as the Chamber of Commerce often list local job openings, and are a good place to comb for recent availabilities.

Managing Money

The younger you begin various habits, the better they stick with you. Teach your children the positive effect proper money management can have on their pocketbook. Start by opening both a savings and a checking account for your teen. Each pay period, help them figure ten percent of their earnings to put into their savings. You can also work with them one-on-one each month to help balance their checkbook and plan for any large expenditures.

Saving for College

Secondary education isn’t cheap. If your son or daughter plans on attending a college or trade school, the time to start saving is now! Work with your future student to determine an educational budget, providing an estimate of upcoming expenses. Once you know the amount needed you can set savings goals for both you and your teen to start tucking money away. The sooner you begin your savings journey the smoother the road will be to your target amount.

Making Payments

Whether it’s purchasing their first car or simply covering the cost of meals at school, learning how to maintain a payment plan is an important life lesson. Explain your personal bill paying system to your teen and see how they can tailor it to their needs. Once they have a grasp on the system itself, gradually add payments to your child’s list of responsibilities, even if you add the money to their account. This will help them learn to keep an updated payment calendar before they graduate high school.

Money management is a continual learning process. There are always new techniques or tricks to better arrange your finances. Don’t stop honing your teen’s money management after these four lessons – stop by Alpine Bank and see how you can keep growing your family’s financial skills today!

 

Start a New Business in 5 Easy Steps

Business Financing

Getting your business off the ground isn’t always as easy as it seems. With a laundry list of to-do items, it can be hard to prioritize which needs have to come first. Luckily, Alpine Bank is here to help! By following these key stepping stones, we’ll help you get on the path to success with your new business venture.

  1. Develop a business plan. Determine what it is you want your business to do, and how you want to do it.
  2. Capital. Capital. Capital. Make sure whether you’re working with investors, securing a business loan, or putting up the money yourself, you have all the funds you need in addition to a large cushion for overhead and operating expenses.
  3. Get it in writing. With options such as an L.L.C, Corporation, S Corporation, Nonprofit or Cooperative, you’ll want to protect your personal finances with a legal structure for your business.
  4. Make it official. After registering with state and local tax agencies, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate permits and licenses to make your business compliant with local laws and regulations.
  5. Get people in the door. Ensure you have an effective marketing strategy, or list of transferred clients to get your business off the ground. The old saying, “If you build it they will come,” no longer applies. Make sure everyone in your area knows you’re opening, and offer a valuable incentive to help encourage them to stop by.

Local businesses are the backbone of small town America. If you’re looking to set-up your own new shop, Alpine Bank is eager to help! Our experienced business lenders are here to find you the best business financing option for your needs!

Save $3,500 this Year by Removing These 6 Things

Saving Money

 

Saving money is no easy task! Only after dedication and determination, can you look successfully into your account to see the difference saving can make. At Alpine Bank, we’re excited to help you achieve your financial goals, and we can’t wait to get started! If you’re looking to tuck some funds away for an emergency savings, or vacation fund, these six tips can help you accumulate $3,500 in savings over the course of the next year.

  1. $720: Cut the cable – at $60+ each month this common expense eat up your budget in a hurry!
  2. $1400: Brew your own java – instead of grabbing a latte on your way to work make your own cup of joe and save that extra $4/day.
  3. $600: Plan Your Meals – instead of playing by ear each night for dinner, make a dedicated meal plan each week and stick to it. This will help cut costs on eating out and unused groceries. Remove one dining out meal each month and see the difference this can make!
  4. $468: Workout at home – the average gym membership runs $39/month which over the course of the year can add up quick. Try online workout videos and create a routine which uses various household items.
  5. $312: Pack your lunch – With most quick lunches running about $10/each, sneaking away for lunch could be costing you! Try packing a lunch from home to avoid these expensive dining options. Changing just three lunches each month could save you more than three-hundred dollars!

 

Learn how to open up your ideal savings account at Alpine Bank to get started on your savings dreams today!

Retirement Planning: The Basics

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Determine your retirement income needs

It’s common to discuss desired annual retirement income as a percentage of your current income. The problem is that it doesn’t account for your specific situation. To determine your specific NEEDS, you may want to estimate your annual retirement expenses.  You can use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may change dramatically by the time you retire.  You should also take inflation into account. The average annual rate of inflation over the past 20 years has been approximately 2.3 percent. (Source: Consumer price index data published by the U.S. Department of Labor, January 2015.) A realistic estimate of your expenses will tell you about how much yearly income you’ll need to live comfortably.

Calculate the gap

Once you have estimated your retirement income needs, take stock of your estimated future assets and income. These may come from Social Security, a retirement plan at work, a part-time job, and other sources. If estimates show that your future assets and income will fall short of what you need, the rest will have to come from additional personal retirement savings.

Figure out how much you’ll need to save

By the time you retire, you’ll need a nest egg that will provide you with enough income to fill the gap left by your other income sources. But exactly how much is enough? The following questions may help you find the answer:

  • At what age do you plan to retire? The younger you retire, the longer your retirement will be, and the more money you’ll need to carry you through it.
  • What is your life expectancy? The longer you live, the more years of retirement you’ll have to fund.
  • What rate of growth can you expect from your savings now and during retirement?
  • What do you want to do in retirement?

Build your retirement fund: Save, save, save

When you know roughly how much money you’ll need, your next goal is to save that amount. It’s never too early to get start saving (ideally, begin saving in your 20s). You may want to arrange to have certain amounts taken directly from your paycheck and automatically invested in accounts of your choice. This arrangement reduces the risk of impulsive spending that will threaten your savings plan.

Understand your investment options

You need to understand the types of investments that are available, and decide which ones are right for you. If you don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to do this yourself, hire a financial professional. He or she will explain the options that are available to you, and will assist you in selecting investments that are appropriate for your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Note that investments may involve the risk of loss of principal.

Investment and insurance products are: not FDIC insured; not guaranteed; and, may be subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal.